Actor Terrence Howard’s reputation came into question back in October 2014 when stories began surfacing that claimed two of his ex wives had accused him abuse.

At the TCA Winter Press Tour on Saturday, Fox execs were pressed about Howard’s messy personal life, as he has very recently become of the network’s big stars on the show “Empire,” which has been gaining popularity since its Jan. 7 debut.

Fox CEO and Chairman Dana Walden announced “Empire” would be returning for a second season on Saturday at the conference and she was pressed about the show’s controversial star.

“We’ve been working with Terrence now for just about a year. It’s been a fantastic experience,” she said. “He’s a leader among that cast. He’s been so professional… our experience with Terrence has been excellent.”

Walden said the network cast Howard because he was the best actor for the role in “Empire,” adding “with Terrance we didn’t really become aware of any of the [domestic violence allegations] until December.”

Though stories began surfacing about Howard months earlier, she insisted the network only became aware in the month before New Year.

“That was when we were made aware of it,” she said of the scandal. “The allegations… it just didn’t come into the conversation [any sooner].”

Later in the day Howard addressed the allegations and said he was grateful to the network and producers for the opportunities they’d given him.

“…A lot of things I got involved with [when I was younger] was the product of not knowing how to deal with frustrations,” Howard said candidly. “I’ve grown so much from anything that’s happened in the past… I don’t think [Fox and those involved in the show] took any of that stuff into consideration and I think they looked at the talent of the power of right now… and I am so thankful for that.”

He also defended himself against the reports.

“The only person that can really find the judgment is the judge in the court or God at the end of the day,” he said, adding “you have to give people a chance to grow.”

Howard concluded speaking about the topic by mentioning Jesus.

“Remember, Jesus was nailed to the stake on the allegations of him being a blasphemer. We slayed our messiah over [false allegations].” 

Howard was arrested in 2001 for assaulting his first wife. In 2005 he was charged with assault after allegedly punching a woman in a diner, and pled guilty to harassment. In 2013 his second wife got a restraining order against him.